daw.com - October 23

I want to start by thanking all the parents for attending the Parent Teacher Conferences.  I feel these are an important part of our partnership in your child's education so I am pleased that there was a 100% participation.

Today was international day and the students looked magnificent in their national costumes and other national apparel.  We talked about thinking globally as part of our morning meeting and the students were really starting to put it all together with ideas that ranged from respect to environmentalism and everything in between.  If you have a chance stop by and see our class poster on the subject.  As it is part of our L21 wheel, students will add this to their Evernote system on Monday as they keep track for their student-led conferences later in the year.

It has been a very busy week with a lot happening and the learning curve continues to arch its way upward.  We have finished our Exploration Unit and I did video all the presentations.  Students have completed a blog post with the reflection of the unit and will add in this video sometime next week.  When this is done I encourage all of you to have a look at the blog with your student. 
We also completed our unit on measurement of Angles.  I really feel the students did quite well with this.  In grade 5 we allow them to be 2 degrees out from the measurement of any angle.  As they grow in their abilities, this will be narrowed until accuracy will be of prime importance.  We also looked at the qualities of polygons and the sum of measures of angles.  It has been a great unit with a lot of hands on learning.  We will start the next unit on division on Monday.  I have added the family letter to the bottom of this blog post.

Our Prove It! unit has been a big hit so far.  The unit aims at educating students on the importance of a process in science.  So far we have looked at questions, hypothesis and also written up our first science lab as a class.  There was a very lively discussion about only changing one variable at a time as the process is followed.  Not sure they all understand a variable yet, but over the next 8 weeks I am confident it will be much more understood.  We looked at several chemical reactions and made observations based on what we saw and what we knew.  I was impressed with everything that the class saw in these experiments.  Students do their own lab starting next week when parachutes will be our primary target of exploration.

In reading we have started our second round of Literature Circles (Book Clubs) and also started our second novel study (Sign of the Beaver).  I expect to complete these prior to the winter break with an astounding amount of learning about books, reading and writing.  There are a total of 4 books in our current round of Literature Circles that each student will both read and study.  Also, each round will identify a new leader so many students will get a chance at showing their skills as a leader - which just happens to also be one of our L21 skills.

In relation to reading, at this time of year I expect that all grade 5 students should be able to read silently with good comprehension for an extended period of up to 20 minutes - with no breaks at all.  If you student is not doing this at home, please start now to move in this direction.  Longevity in reading is a very important skill for all students to have as the move on in their education.

Next week we will continue with our writing of memoirs.  In order to complete the publication of these written pieces, I would like to ask all of you to find pictures of your student from an infant to present.  If it is possible, about 10-12 pictures would be great.  If they are digital, you can put them on a USB and students can download them to their school computers.  IF a USB is not available, then they can be emailed.  Please note that the school email system does not allow more than 20MB of attachments per email so it may take more than one email to send them all.  If you have them as photographs, please allow your student to bring them to school where we will scan them so they can be used in their memoirs books.  I also totally understand if you do not have any of these.
Next week I will be demonstrating current events for students that have to do with people impacting communities around the world.  This is in preparation for students to start this the week after.  I will have more on this next week but each Tuesday to Friday for the rest of the year, a student will be assigned current events that they will choose and report on. As I usually do, there is a very logical and easy system to follow for this.  This is part of how I teach our IMPACT unit so that it includes a broader understanding of how people do impact our world.

I would like to request your help on checking a digital website at home.  One of the sites the school subscribes to is BRAIN POP.  It is located at www.brainpop.com and students have the login information in their planners.  I will be asking all students to see if they can get this at home and would ask for you help as well.  It is my understanding that it is not blocked by the Chinese Firewall but I want to confirm this before I start using it later in the semester.  Thank-you in advance for this.

We have a visiting author next week - Ken Nesbitt.  The class will have a chance to see him twice and I have prepped them about finding out how he writes his stories and then comparing it to how my students do it.  Should be a fascinating outcome and a neat way to learn more about the process of writing.

Next Friday is the Jedi Jugglers so it will be a Wed Schedule so that the school can see the show at 2:00.  The evening show will be announced on the ES blog so look for the times there.  It is always a really good show - and the evening show is different from the daytime show.

That is all for this week.  Sorry it is a bit longer than normal.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know so we can meet about them.

Harold Daw